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The Apprentice 2013: Sneak peek as the final five face tough interviews

10 JULY 2013

After ten grueling tasks, the five remaining candidates on The Apprentice face their toughest challenge yet. This week, they face a cross-examination from Lord Sugar's most trusted advisors as they present their proposed business plans.

It promises to be a gripping episode, and Lord Sugar has already tweeted his followers promising there's a treat in store.

 

 

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"A real bumper Apprentice episode tonight at 9pm BBC1," he wrote. "Grilling interviews from Claude and my new advisor Claudine Collins. Must watch event."

Doctor Leah Totton faces some hard questions about her proposed business plan, which involves opening up a string of medical cosmetic clinics.

Tough talking Claude Littner asks, "Your whole business is about people being judged on their looks. You are potentially going to make money out of young girls, maybe to feeling good about themselves, so coming in thinking that don't look good as they are, and want to look like all the celebrities out there."

Leah is quick to defend herself, saying, "I'm an extremely moral person. I'm very ethically aware and I would totally challenge that point." But will it be enough to win her a place in the final two?

 



Neil Clough's business plan for an online estate agency business, where vendors manage their own viewings and all other processes online, is challenged right from the start by Claude.

"You've been in sales and so you can probably sell your house," he says. "Many people do not have that kind of skill. You've got to market it… you've got to set the price… you've got to negotiate afterwards…"

 



Neil defends himself, but makes matters worse when he reveals he isn't only focusing on owners selling houses. "My business plan is actually to compete as a national online website and to get estate agents to advertise their properties on my website."

He is bluntly told he "doesn't have a chance" and that "the market is full", but refuses to back down.

After revealing at the end of last week that he has an existing business partner, Jordan Poulton is in for a rough ride. Publisher Mike Soutar queries him as he presents his idea for an online platform that allows hobbyists and big brands to create mobile games. "Isn't your business partner the brains behind it?," he asks. "It sounds like he brings the real value to the business."

Jordan responds by saying, "He makes the product but without Steve Jobs there wouldn't have been Steve Wozniak."

He is further grilled by furious Claude, who points out that Jordan is only prepared to offer an equity stake smaller than the 50 per cent required. He tells him, "You've got no right to be here, because you are feeding on somebody else's idea, somebody else's business, you are a parasite."

 


Luisa Zissman also gets off to a shaky start with Claude, who dresses her down for comparing herself to Lord Sugar. She doesn't fare much better with Mike Soutar while discussing her plan to create a new baking brand.

"I'm confused," Mike says. "It talks about being a manufacturer, as well as a wholesaler, as well as a retailer. Your business plan is half-baked." Luisa explains, "I think that writing a business plan is definitely not one of my strong points, and face-to-face I'm a lot stronger."

Francesca MacDuff-Varley, meanwhile, comes under fire for failing to know her numbers. Asked about the turnover and profit of one of her current businesses, she can't remember the exact figures, much to Claude's dismay.

Francesca initially redeems herself by quoting the figures from the second company she runs, but the numbers don't stack up against the original claim made on her application.

With the interviews out the way, Lord Sugar must choose two finalists to go forward and battle it out for his £250,000 investment. But who will it be? Tune in to BBC1 at 9pm to find out.

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